Robert Trundy of Hebron pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter in the death of Karen Wrentzel. Trundy shot Wrentzel while he was hunting on her property in Hebron in October 2017. Ben McCanna/Portland Press Herald

PARIS — A Hebron man will serve nine months in jail for shooting a woman on her land in a hunting accident in late October 2017.

Robert Trundy, 40, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Oxford County Superior Court to manslaughter. He was sentenced to seven years in jail with all but nine months suspended and four years of probation in the death of Karen Wrentzel, 34.

Wrentzel was digging for gemstones along Greenwood Mountain Road in Hebron when she was shot by Trundy on opening day of deer hunting season for Maine residents. 

Trundy was also charged with failing to provide aid to a person and report a hunting accident, which is punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000. Under the conditions of the plea deal, that charge was dropped and Trundy pleaded guilty to a single count of manslaughter. He was scheduled to go to trial next week.

On Tuesday, the courthouse was packed with supporters of both Trundy and family and friends of Wrentzel, 10 of whom read victim impact statements.

Jon Spofford, Wrentzel’s uncle, said the family did not approve of the plea deal.


“I want to make it very clear that I do not agree with the conditions of his plea agreement, and dropping the charge of failing to render aid,” Spofford said. “Unanimously, none of Karen’s family or friends agree with it, either.” 

According to a police affidavit filed by Maine Warden Anthony Gray, Trundy said he could see what he thought was the “ass of a deer with a tail, skinny legs and a possible glimpse of what he thought could have been part of a head or antler of a deer.”

At the hearing Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Robert “Bud” Ellis read facts that would have been presented by the state had the case gone to trial. He said in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, investigators from the Maine Warden Service stood where Trundy fired, and where Wrentzel was shot, 201 feet away. Ellis said that even while wearing hunter orange, it was nearly impossible to make out forms through the thick hemlock and foliage surrounding the area where Wrentzel was shot.

According to Maine law, “a hunter may not shoot at a target without, at that point in time, being certain that it is the wild animal … sought.”

Trundy shot a Browning semi-automatic, .30-06-caliber rifle with no scope. Trundy’s target screamed when he shot. The hunter thought to himself, “‘Deer don’t do that,’” according to the warden’s affidavit.

After Trundy had walked about three-quarters of the way to Wrentzel, he saw a rake leaning against a rock. “It was at that point he thought that he had shot someone,” Gray wrote.


Trundy couldn’t bring himself to walk the rest of the distance to Wrentzel, he told Gray.

“Honestly, I couldn’t go down there,” he told Gray. “If I don’t see it, it’s out of my mind.”

Trundy phoned his father, who was hunting in the area, to say he thought he had just shot someone.

Ralph Trundy told a warden he instructed his son to “go look” at his target, because “if it was a person, he had to call 911.” Ralph Trundy walked to where his son had seen the rake and discovered Wrentzel’s unresponsive body. He told Robert to call 911.

Rolling Wrentzel’s body over, Ralph Trundy said he could see a wound on her hip and tried to stop the bleeding. He attempted CPR.

After an investigation, the Maine Warden Service charged Trundy with manslaughter, which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.


All family members and friends who read victim impact statements at the trial said Trundy did not do enough to help Wrentzel after she had been shot and that Trundy was shooting at “movement,” not at an identified target.

“I truly hope that when he closes his eyes at night, he hears Karen scream, and he relives that moment for as long as he lives,” her stepfather, Perry Morin, wrote in a letter to the court.

Trundy read from a brief letter he wrote to Wrentzel. He said that he is constantly reminded of her.

“I lost my soul that day, and you lost your life,” Trundy said. “We walked together in that moment, and because of what happened, you will never walk again, and I will never walk as the person I was. I am so sorry.”

Superior Court Justice Andrew Horton agreed that Trundy acted negligently and hoped the sentence would serve as a warning to hunters.

According to reporting by the Portland Press Herald, Thomas Bean of Paris pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2007 for the shooting death of 18-year-old Megan Ripley. Bean, who similarly told investigators he thought he was aiming at the rear end of a deer, was sentenced to two years in prison with all but 30 days suspended.

“This sentence delivers a message to hunters in a stronger fashion than previous sentences have done,” Horton said.

Trundy had no prior criminal record. He will have to report for his sentence by 6 p.m. Sept. 16, and will never be allowed to own a firearm.

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